Social Media and Elections

When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to see a non-personal post on my Facebook newsfeed and notification, but it was rather an election-related post. Merely five months before the national elections, and not to mention it isn’t campaign period yet, election-related posts are all over not just mainstream media but also in social media.

During the 2010 national elections, I was an intern at Philippine Daily Inquirer and was assigned in Makati beat. I wasn’t using a smartphone yet that time, neither was my co-intern from a prominent university in Manila nor my mentor PDI reporter Ms. Niña Calleja. But what I can remember was they (PDI reporters) were using Blackberry phones so they can transmit news right away. And once there’s news already, it will be published right away in the website. When you say “breaking news” that time, they were referring to news in websites. But today, it’s a whole lot different. 

Social media as the new platform for news

Before all we see on Facebook is updates from our friends. Nowadays, reporters break their stories in their personal social media accounts as well as their media organization / publication’s social media accounts. When I browse my Twitter newsfeed, I get updated with Quezon City beat and some national news thru my friend who’s a reporter of Net25. I also follow news organizations in Twitter and I can say that the social media has become the new platform for news. 

People need not to buy newspapers or check websites to get the latest updates. Just like recently, the past few days were significant for the upcoming national elections and people get the latest updates straight from their social media. I, myself, became aware that Congresswoman Leni Robredo decided to run for Vice-President. Various posts about Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte flood my newsfeed until the very last day of filing of candidacy. 

Social media as the driving factor for people to be more active

What’s good about social media is that it makes people voice out their thoughts. One can easily react to the news they’ve read by posting a comment and can even share it in their own timeline. Even the most  indifferent person will be encouraged and inspired to speak up.

Social media as a propaganda tool

It’s interesting that even politicians use hashtags for their campaign. #Poe2016, #RoRo, #BinGO and other trending election-related hashtags on Twitter. I believe that by using hashtags, candidates will be more visible to the community.

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